- Audio CD (22 Sept. 1997)
- SPARS Code: DDD
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Import
- Label: Teldec
- ASIN: B000000S9B
- Other Editions: Audio CD | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 589,918 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Symphony No.4 'romeo And Juliet' (Barenboim) Import
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Tchaikovsky : Symphony No.4 & Romeo and Juliet Overture
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Top Customer Reviews
That aside, this recording is very average (taking into account the magnificence of the Verdi Requiem he conducted and recorded with this very same orchestra, at the very same hall - but with another recording engineer!)
No, this is not in the same sonic league as Barenboim other recording for the same label and with the same orchestra (Richard Strauss works fare excellently and the Verdi Requiem is a milestone).
On the Romeo& Juliet the stupid recording and transfer engineer decided to filter out the bass drum to the minimum possible level. The whole piece is devoid of excitement and tension because of it: The foundation is gone, the mood is obscure and lacking.
The symphony Nr.4 lacks the transparency, the breath, the realism obtainable with a great digital recording in a great hall - but this one has another idiot of an engineer that helped with multiple "feeders" on the balancing table to muffled the sound into an average of a almost "just noise sound": No, there is no real depth, no real dimensionality and no transients attack, and the bass too is subdued.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
The Tchaikovsky 4th is in f-minor and runns in this recording for 42:11 or about the average length and features that fabuloius CSO brass we all know and love so much. The trick here is to slowly build this movement up to it's blazing climactic close all the while containing the energy and releasing it ever so carefully over time. Also, as we know, the composer was a very very emotional man, and it would be a mistake to characterize him as being out of controll all the time, as his model was Mozart, the master of containment and pacing. Tchaikovsky, more than anything else , wanted to be a Mozartean type comoser of operas, and therefore, he would be careful about hiw his structure went along the way in his longer works, like the Symphonies. Here, he presents the concept of "fate" heard several times in this great azSymphony, as a persistaqnt and re\occuring theme. Witrhin this raging first movement, an "Andante sostenuto--moderato con anim--moderato assai, quasi andante --Allegro vivo, " we get a pair of waltz scenes an angst ridden counter-melody of great stress, and a build up to a controlled and grand climax with full forte orchestra.
Waltz sequence #1 begins quietly at about the 05:36 point and stretches to around the 08:1o mark where the "fate" motiff, now in the F major key, gets a triumphant treatment by the splendid brass of the CSO, before sliding back into the next waltz part. DB keeps the foot on the gas, and doesn't permit the pace to relax, nor us either, for that matter. One of this Symphony's key tools is the relentlessness of the pursuit by this "fate " motiff. It is as menacing as it is magnificent. From 10:17 to about 11:44 we can hear the composer crying out in agony as the black-cloud of "fate" bares down on him with all it's merciless weight, nearly crushing his sp[irit, but only to be relieved, temporarily by the waltz sequence #2, a brighter and more positive reassuring concept that seems to strengthen the composer's will to "fight on" through his misery.Trumpet fanfares equate this fighting back to a cavalry charge bouyed with resolve and determination, yet his success at combatting this ominous fear is still very much in doubt. This 2nd waltz set carries in it a nostalgic look back, perhaps to an age of innocence for the great Russian Symphonist as the more I hear this work, the more autobiographical it appears to me. DB's touch here is very gracious and tender indeed as his sympathies are clearly with the composer. The source for his torment? His repressed homosexuality, which in 19th Century Russia, as elsewhere had, little empathy on the part of the public. Personally, I neither condone nor sympathize with thie so-called "lifestyle" then or now, BUT it is critical in understanding the man behind the music, THEN as NOW. As I first learned this Symphony from an LP by Bernstein and the NY Phil, over 40 years ago, I just today found this idea, this first movement is not unlike a sword fight with the sabers slashing the air with their razor sharp edges, much as the brass, strings and even the winds and percussion do under Barenboim's astute leadership. This music is combative, desperate and bristling with a life and death struggle with a much more powerful opponent than one can truly imagine. And yet, DB keeps this massive machine under control with a mere glance here or there, very impressive. Having recently reviewed this same work under Abbado with the same CSO, I am struck anew by it's value as a sort of stand alone tone poem in it's marvelous completeness and construction. AS all great music has this quality and even a Symphony's individual movements can stand up to this close scrutiny and examination.
The push to the end is equally fine. Here, the Maestro slowly and cautiously builds up the pressure to a much anticipated final purging at the last bar. WOW!
The next movement is an Andante in mood di canzone, or a moderate part in the sense of a songlike pace. It is dark, yes, but also comforting and highly nostalgic in nature, recalling what must of been, certainly for it's author, better days, filled perhaps with peace and innocence. As Tchaikovsky write this music he is allowing his personal story to unfold and he bares himself to the listener, as all true artists will do, regardless of the possibility of rejection. The 3rd movement is the unique pizzicato ostinato--allegro and is a brief 5:50 in total. This music has a definate refernce to the Nutcracker in it's tone and style and the scherzo proceeds in a steady pace, light and bouyant with a fine balkance especially from the celli and basses. The winds make their appearances with short crisp lines and the whole movement, my least favorite of the last three symphonies, seems better everytime I hear it. Generally there may not be much of a pause betweeen the ending of the 3rd and beginning of the 4th movements, but here barenboim gives us only a second or two to take a breath. I would like less of a "break" heightening the excitement. But, this second ort two is well within lim itys of acceptable.
The Finale is marked Allegro con fuoco, and boy, firey it IS. A grand percussive splash and we're off. I can not say enough about the magnificent CSO's strings, sometimes not given their proper due, because of the Orchestra's elite brass performance, bu they really do shine in this rapid and blazing final few pages. The low brass, especially have a boisterous and jovial foundation to themreminiscent of the best from English groups like the LSO and Royal Phil. One sacall to mind Boult and his Planets for Emi as an example. As I said earler about DB keeping his foot on the gas, it is the same here, plenty of energy and his Chiagoans take this movement by storm. For those few of you out there who haven't yet sampled the power of the CSO brass, I will refer you to the passage from 05:31 to about 06:10, or there abouts. WOW. The thunderous final page starts off with a quiet timpani roll at 07:06 and runs to the last roucous chord at 09:003. Simply magnificent. N o other words need apply.
The Fantasy Overture Romeo and Juliet, was written in 1870/71 including a n 1871 revision suggesterd by Balakriev, and it was a smah for the composer and remains a concert favorite all over the world. In it's simple form of two main themes, the "love theme" and the "conflict theme", this music never seaces to please. The composer revised it again in 1880 and it is in this revised form that we most often hear it played. In fact, I do n ot thik I have ever heard it in the original, but I will investigate this, later on. The solemn opening almost suggests Russian Liturgical Choral music, of all things and after a sizable introduction, we leap into the heart of the overture, and hence the tale of those "star-crossed lovers' of Shakespeare. The conclusion of this 19 + minute work is a magnificent sxummary of the entire story in a few moments time. The closing funeral march, opens quietly at the 16:21 mark aFTER DONALD KOSS'S FINE DESCENDING TIMPANI ROLL, WITH A WARM, CONSOLING WIND CHORALE AROUND the 17:03 mark leading gently to the triumphant up surge near 18:12, with the angelic harps adding their own majic to the atrmosphere, then a mighty brass fanfare, the final major choed sounded at precicesly at 1905. The tuba is wonderfully present. A gorgeous piece played as good as one would belikely to hear in this life. All around, a big, rich and very well \deserved 4>75 stars for Daniel Barenboim and the sensational Chicago Symphony Orchestra. A must have for your library, god bless you all, Tony.